No, the times are politically meager because of the entire setting: two government parties that are not really harmonious, which we nevertheless have to imagine – loosely based on Camus’ Sisyphus – as a happy coalition. Chained together, firstly because of the pandemic, but also due to the lack of alternatives. What remains at best: the return to the unloved grand coalition, from which the country had to be liberated for good reasons first Wolfgang Schüssel and then Sebastian Kurz set out. This is the only realistic alternative: if these are not tough times …
But for the time being, the pandemic fight naturally overshadows everything – and one wonders again and again whether the light at the end of the tunnel is real or just a (longed-for) illusion. We have heard too often that the next few weeks will be decisive, that it is now a matter of persevering and the like. And yet the increasing numbers cannot be glossed over or downplayed. The situation is also dramatic in countries that are better at vaccination than Austria, such as Hungary.
So, to a certain extent, we live in a continuous Holy Saturday, the end of which is at best only vaguely in sight. It is naturally more difficult to persevere here – one may say that too – in a saturated society that is spoiled for affluence than previous generations familiar with hardship and privation.
The Catholic tradition knows the so-called “Risum paschale”, the Easter laugh. Even if nobody is in the mood for such a thing at the moment, the perpetual Holy Week can be mastered more easily with happiness, confidence and optimism. And for the time after that, such an attitude will be absolutely essential.